OFWs may ship home P350,000 tax-free items in Balikbayan Box Law
Filipino workers returning to the Philippines for good can bring home up to P350,000 worth of personal and household items tax-free, based on a proposed law recently approved by the Senate.
Senate Pro-Tempore Ralph Recto said OFWs who want to bring home the fruits of their overseas labor — from furniture to appliances — will benefit from this law.
"Kung nagtrabaho ka sa abroad at gusto mo i-uwi ang mga naipon mong mga kasangkapan, appliances o ano mang bagay na may sentimental value at ikarga mo ang mga ito sa isang 20 footer van, pwedeng ipasok na tax free basta hindi lalampas ng P350,000 ang halaga," he said.
Among items covered are "used household appliances, jewelry, precious stones, and other goods of luxury, personal and household effects including wearing apparel, goods of personal adornment except luxury items, toilet goods, instruments related to one's profession and analogous personal or household effects, excluding vehicles, watercraft, aircraft and animals."
"The bicam can still raise the amount. Of course, if these are used items, of course assessed values would be lower," said Recto, author of the Balikbayan Box Law provision in the proposed Customs Modernization and Tariff Act (CMTA).
The P350,000 tax exemption may only be availed by Filipinos who have lived and worked abroad for 10 years. OFWs who have lived for at least five years but not more than 10 years have a lower shipment value of P250,000.
The Senate on Monday approved the CMTA on third on final reading. A bicameral conference committee is now finalizing the version which will be sent back to each legislative chamber for ratification.
Recto said this "repatriation of goods" privilege granted to "permanently returning residents" had been in effect since the Martial Law years, "so the CMTA merely adjusted it up."
Under current regulations, an OFW home for good can only bring in P10,000 worth of personal and household goods.
"This is one of the many outdated regulations CMTA is trying to cure," Recto said. —Rie Takumi/APG/KBK, GMA News